Manhattan's Rental Inventory to Stay Scarce

The December 2011 rentaFinancial Districtl market report showed that prices for luxury Manhattan rentals were considerably higher than they had been the year before. Experts said this indicated how much the real estate market had recovered from the 2007 market crash, but most agreed it was abetted by a particularly scarce rental inventory. And while rental availability always ebbs and flows, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that new rental buildings could literally run out of space. Manhattan neighborhoods are running out of areas currently zoned for residential construction.

As we wrote earlier, there are currently 2 new rental buildings scheduled to open this year. The Windermere, on the Upper West Side, is scheduled to open this month, and 396 Broadway in Tribeca will be finished by the fall. All told, there are 5,000 total rental units on the books to be constructed over the next several years. And while that suggests it might be difficult to find an apartment for rent in Manhattan, there are some places where New Yorkers looking for a lease should be able to find what they need.

Hudson Yards, and the surrounding area in Midtown West,  is developing extremely quickly. Two new buildings that just opened up, MiMA and Liberty Luxe in Midtown West and Battery Park City, respectively, are devoting themselves to rentals. And Gotham West, an infamous city project near Hudson Yards, will offer a mix of rentals and condos when it opens in 2013. Renters can also look for Manhattan rental apartments in underdeveloped areas of New York, like Harlem, where rent is cheaper, and there is more space to construct new buildings. Manhattan Valley, which we wrote about yesterday, has new buildings that offer affordable rent. And finally, apartments in the Financial District have bucked the scarcity trend altogether. Inventory in FiDi is so high that landlords have started offering incentives.

This could suggest that for those interested in renting, now might be the time to start looking. As new buildings come closer to opening, building realtors try to fill apartment space quickly, and they often offer special deals to make that happen. Moving to a Manhattan apartment in one of the areas described above could be the best option for new renters.